NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 19960013909: Optical fiber sensors for damage analysis in aerospace materials
Publication date 1995-12-31
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), FIBER OPTICS, OPTICAL FIBERS, NEURAL NETS, NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTS, METAL COATINGS, FABRY-PEROT INTERFEROMETERS, STRAIN GAGES, TENSILE STRESS, SIGNAL DETECTION, DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, IMPACT DAMAGE, AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE, ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT TESTS, AIRCRAFT CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, ALGORITHMS, STRESS WAVES, REFRACTIVITY, RESIN MATRIX COMPOSITES, ANISOTROPIC PLATES, BRAGG ANGLE, SIGNAL TRANSMISSION, RESIDUAL STRESS, CLADDING, PHOTOSENSITIVITY, POSITION (LOCATION), Schindler, Paul, May, Russell, Claus, Richard,
Under this grant, fiber optic sensors were investigated for use in the nondestructive evaluation of aging aircraft. Specifically, optical fiber sensors for detection and location of impacts on a surface, and for detection of corrosion in metals were developed. The use of neural networks was investigated for determining impact location by processing the output of a network of fiberoptic strain sensors distributed on a surface. This approach employs triangulation to determine location by comparing the arrival times at several sensors, of the acoustic signal generated by the impact. For this study, a neural network simulator running on a personal computer was used to train a network using a back-propagation algorithm. Fiber optic extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometer (EFPI) strain sensors are attached to or embedded in the surface, so that stress waves emanating from an impact can be detected. The ability of the network to determine impact location by time-or-arrival of acoustic signals was assessed by comparing network outputs with actual experimental results using impacts on a panel instrumented with optical fiber sensors. Using the neural network to process the sensor outputs, the impact location can be inferred to centimeter range accuracy directly from the arrival time data. In addition, the network can be trained to determine impact location, regardless of material anisotropy. Results demonstrate that a back-propagation network identifies impact location for an anisotropic graphite/bismaleimide plate with the same accuracy as that for an isotropic aluminum plate. Two different approaches were investigated for the development of fiber optic sensors for corrosion detection in metals, both utilizing optical fiber sensors with metal coatings. In the first approach, an extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometric fiber optic strain sensor was placed under tensile stress, and while in the resulting strained position, a thick coating of metal was applied. Due to an increase in the quantity of material, the sensor does not return to its original position upon removal of the applied stress, and some residual strain is maintained within the sensor element. As the metal thickness decreases due to corrosion, this strain is released, providing the sensing mechanism for corrosion detection. In the second approach, photosensitive optical fibers with long period Bragg gratings in the core were coated with metal. The Bragg gratings serve to couple core modes at discrete wavelengths to cladding modes. Since cladding modes interact with the metal coating surrounding the fiber cladding, the specific wavelengths coupled from core to cladding depend on the refractive index of the metal coating. Therefore, as the metal corrodes, the resulting change in index of the coating may be measured by measuring the change in wavelength of the coupled mode. Results demonstrate that both approaches can be successfully used to track the loss in metal coating on the optical fiber sensors due to corrosion.
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